Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ecuador Week 11

Dear Fam and Friends,

It's great to hear from you and how well things are still going. And yes I did get both the packages. Thanks soo much! They were awesome! I've already eaten a package of beef jerkey, the mixed nuts (which were sweet!) and the skittles. Not all by myself though, I've shared with a lot of the other missionaries here, but thanks soo much! It was great! Oh and real quick about the things if you can send another package, musicwise, other cool piano songs would be sweet too. (like Jon Schmidt and whatever else) I like Amanda's taste in piano music so if she has any ideas that'd be cool. Oh and there was one thing another Elder had here which was pretty cool. He had these fake thumbs that had lights in them and lit up when you pushed on them or something. That was really cool. I don't know where anything like that would be, but it would be a cool "magic trick" to do with the kids haha.

So things are still going well here. To answer some of your questions, first, that church building in the pictures isn't mine. That's the stake center where we do baptisms because our church building doesn't have a baptismal font. The stake center is pretty nice, and our church building isn't too bad either. It's similar to the stake center, just quite a bit smaller.

As for the ward, about 60-70 people attend regularly. It's a really small ward. And according to my companion, it's smaller than the branches he's been in as well. Theres about 200 people on the register, but less than half actually go to church. That's a big problem in all of Ecuador I guess. But we are working with some less active members to try and help them come back to church as well. And to get to the church building we walk like 5-10 minutes down the road so it's not too far.

As for the heat, it is starting to get really hot here. I'm not a huge fan of all this heat, but I guess I have to live with it. The missionaries in our zone went out today and we played some football and ultimate frisbee outside and I forgot to put sunscreen on so I got pretty burned. But not as bad as some of the burns I've gotten in Arizona so I'll be okay. I'm just a little scared because it's supposed to be a lot hotter come January and February, but I'll probably be changed to a different sector by then.

So I said before that I hadn't eaten anything strange here in the mission, that changed this week. This week I had a few pretty strange foods. The first was chicken foot soup. Yes. Chicken foot soup. That was really interesting. It was just a bowl of soup with a couple chicken feet sticking out. And to eat the feet, you just like sucked the skin off of the bones. Really weird and a bit disturbing, but it didn't taste too bad.

The second strange thing I had to eat was..... cow stomach. I don't think I enjoyed it as much because I knew it was something strange before I had started eating it, just not exactly what. But I found out afterwards that it was cow stomach, and it actually wasn't too bad. It was just really chewy and strange the think I was eating it, but it actually tasted pretty good.
And the last thing I had was clam. Which isn't too strange, but that was the first time I had eaten clam. And I think I liked the clam less than the chicken foot or the cow stomach. haha.

Well that's all I've got time for this week! Sorry I couldn't write more. I'll make sure and update you a little better next week. And sorry, I'm kind of slacking on writing letters back to people. I don't have very much time to do so, but I'll get on it as soon as I can! And for Garrett, I already wrote your letter like 2 weeks ago, I just haven't sent it yet. I need to find the place to send letter first. But thanks so much for the letters and the prayers! Until next week!

Elder Joshua Lee

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ecuador Week 10 Pictures



Ecuador Week 10

Hey Fam and Friends!

I'm not really doing a ton of working out, just excercising for 30 minutes in the mornings and I now weigh like 175 pounds! At least that's what our scale says. I'm not sure if it is entirely right.

I got your package mom! Whoo!! Thanks soo much! I have yet to open the jerky because I want to try and make it last, but I've started eating the nuts and the skittles are gone because I shared with everyone in my district. Oh and the tobasco was sweet too! I've only used it once so far, but I'm going to start carrying it around in my backpack to use during lunch haha. And so some things that I might kind of like in a Christmas package would be like some more sunscreen (maybe like a spray kind), icebreakers instead of gum (because we can't chew gum outside of the house), and maybe a flashdrive with like some more music on it. I'd like to get some more songs like maybe some more Josh Groban (at least You Raise Me Up because it's not working on my ipod), or some piano renditions of church songs (I've heard Paul Cardell has some good ones and whoever else), and just some other different types of spiritual songs maybe sung solo or with a few people. Oh and maybe some sort of magic kit to do magic tricks with the kids because I've started running out of tricks! But just if you can! I don't need any of this stuff and will get along just fine without it.

Well things are still going well here. I get along with my companion pretty well. He's an odd guy, but that's a good thing because normal people are boring. So I sent home a few pictures and I hope you enjoy them! You asked for some pictures of the house and so I finally got a chance to send some. Those pictures are pretty much our whole house, it's pretty small. And the desks where we study always have these tiny ants running around them and everything on it. It was a little annoying at first, but now I'm just used to it and they've only bitten me like 2 or 3 times in 9 weeks or so here. The other pictures are from our sector when we did a service for an invesigator family. They live in the last house at the end of our sector and after it is like jungleyish until the river and so that's a picture of us chilling in the jungle area and a picture of the river we live next to.

Also we had a baptism this last week! Whoo! We baptized the daughter-in-law of the bishop. She's a 16 year old girl who is married to the bishop's son and pregnant. I've seen a lot of really young pregnant girls here which is pretty sad, but I'm really happy that we had a chance to teach that bishop's daughter-in-law (Rosalia is her name) and now she can raise her baby in a good environment.

Okay so just a couple quick things that have happened since being here in Ecuador. One is breastfeeding. I have already had many lessons where the mom just starts breastfeeding a kid in the middle of a lesson. And it's not like in the U.S. where they'll cover up with a blanket or anything. It's been quite an interesting experience. Another thing is that my companion and I were walking down the street past a group of drunk, black guys the other day and they called us colored people. I couldn't help but start laughing when that happened because here in Esmeraldas everyone is black and therefore us gringos are ¨colored¨. I got a kick out of it haha.

Well that's about all I've got for this week. Things are still going really well. I'm really starting to develop a love for this work and these people here in Ecuador. That's something that I hope to continue doing as I go through my mission. I really have begun to see miracles in my life and the lives of others and I continue to hope to have great experiences here. Oh and before I forget, thanks so much to the letter from Sister Mann! It was great to hear how MacGyver is doing and it was awesome to get to read his email. He's going to be an awesome missionary out in Nicaragua. And thanks Heidi for the letter as well! It means a lot to me to hear from friends and family so thanks so much for all the letters and the prayers!

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ecuador Week 8

Dear fam and friends,

So things are moving along here. I have my new companion now. His name is Elder Bloxham and he's from Idaho. He's a good guy and I've already learned a lot from him. He's interesting too haha. Definitely a lot different than my last companion. Better is some ways, and not as good in others, but I guess that's how it will always be throughout the mission. I'm looking forward to working with and learning from him though.

This week we had a couple good things happen. First, is that we had three baptisms this last weekend!!! Whoo!! We had the baptisms of a Sister named Erika who is about 32 years old, and then the baptisms of two girls, Mairy and Maisa (one is like twelve and the other is like ten or something). It was awesome! I was especially excited for the baptisms of Mairy and Maisa because I've gotten pretty close to that family and love them a ton. Now we just need their parents to get baptized. The only problem for them is that they have to get married first and the dad in the family doesn't want to get married right now. But they believe the church and Book of Mormon are true, so we are going to keep working with and praying for them and hopefully he will have a change of heart soon!

Besides that only one really crazy thing happened this week. We had like kind of an earthquake! It happened yesterday when we were in church. We were sitting there in the last hour and we were all in the chapel for a meeting with the whole ward, when suddenly people started freaking out. I didn't know what was going on at first and then I felt the ground shaking and the whole building started shaking. Some people started yelling and car alarms started going off, but then it passed after a few seconds (which felt a lot longer than a few seconds) and everything was okay. As far as I know nothing got destroyed or anything, but it was definitely the biggest tremor I've ever felt. Kind of loco!! But I'm okay and no one got hurt so it's all good!

So that's how things have been here. It's getting a bit hotter, which I'm not too happy about, but I guess I'll live. I have definitely been humbled by being here. I am really grateful for lots of the little things now, like carpet (I have yet to see any here), A/C, and even chairs (There have been houses where we had to sit on the floor becasue they didn't have chairs, and by the end of the lesson my legs were really hurting me! haha). And my spanish is improving a ton. I can almost understand everything I hear now which is awesome! There are still quite a few times where I don't understand what people are saying, but as I look back, my Spanish has flown through the roof. I really believe in the gift of tongues haha. But I need to keep working hard cause I've got a long way to go!

Oh and I got a lot of letters this week which was awesome! I got letters from Garebear, Sarah, Jessica Cook (just so you know it wasn't Jessie haha), and Rebecca (with all five letters in there from Kate, Kira, Tracy (sp? sorry!) and Brianna as well) as well as a letter from Sister Farnsworth! Oh and I also got the letter you sent me in the Peru MTC. I guess they forward them after all so I got that letter as well as the one from Jessica which she sent to the MTC. Thanks soo much for the letters everyone! It was awesome to hear from you all and how things are going. I'm going to try and write you all back as soon as I can! But sorry if it takes a while! Just know the letters meant a lot to me! And sorry that I don't have any pictures this week. I gave my memory card to an investigator to take the pictures of the baptism off and forgot I would need it today to send pictures, but I'll try and send some next week! 

Elder Joshua Lee